Caroline Kennedy lives a very private life with a very public profile. It’s the perfect skill set for her newest assignment.
As part of Barack Obama’s vice presidential search team, the daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy must function with the utmost secrecy in what is sure to be one of the most closely watched endeavors of this year’s presidential campaign.
She has sought and treasured privacy since her father’s assassination in 1963.
“She has, I think, a natural kind of reserve about her,” said Paul Kirk, a former Democratic Party chairman who now serves as chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “I don’t mean aloof, but she is very modest, maybe even shy. She’s not one who makes a big scene about herself.”
Joel Klein, chancellor of New York’s public school system, for which Kennedy has worked raising money from private donors, describes her as “the real deal.”
“She is a very loyal, devoted, committed friend with absolutely no pretense,” he said.
Klein, whose wife, Nicole Seligman, went to Harvard’s Radcliffe College with Kennedy, said the president’s daughter has a small circle of friends in New York and they are the few who get to see a wry sense of humor that has rubbed off on JFK’s grandson and namesake, 15-year-old Jack.
The sole remaining member of a White House family that continues to captivate the world, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg does not like talking about herself, nor does she appreciate those who do. But recently she has begun to shed some of her trademark shyness.
Kennedy served as cover girl for the AARP retiree association’s magazine on the occasion of her 50th birthday in November. It fell on Nov. 27, just five days after the 44th anniversary of her father’s death. Her landmark birthday served as something of a wake-up call for many who remembered her as the girl riding her pony, Macaroni, on the South Lawn of the White House.
Little more than two months after her birthday, Kennedy wrote an op-ed column for The New York Times declaring her support for Obama. It touched off three days of coverage that included a raucous rally with Obama and her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, in Washington.
“I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them,” Kennedy wrote. “But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.”
Kirk said he was surprised that Kennedy has emerged as an advocate for Obama.
“I would never have bet a few years ago that she would be out on the stump for anyone other than her relatives, but she has been a force for Senator Obama already,” he said.(p2)
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